The best coastal activity holidays in Portugal.
Portugal is well known for its Mediterranean climate and with over 1200 kilometres of coastline and 300 days of sunshine each year, it is hardly surprising that it is so popular for coastal activities.
Whether you are on mainland Portugal or one of the archipelagos (the Azores and Madeira) there will be something to suit all tastes, the only problem you will have is choosing which activity to enjoy.
We have complied a short list of our favourites:
1. Whale/dolphin watching
There are many options for whale and dolphin watching in Portugal. Your main decision is whether this is the basis for your trip, location or just a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.
If you are looking for a treat for the family, many harbours on the Algarve, such as Lagos and Albufeira will offer short dolphin spotting boat rides, from as little as a 2 hour trip. It is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. It is often best to book in advance as these trips are very popular.
If you are looking to learn more about whales and dolphins, the Azores is the perfect location to do so. They are made up of an archipelago of nine islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean, and a top ‘green’ holiday destination.
The Azores is currently one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries thanks to the eco system found there and you can see more than 20 cetacean (whale and dolphin) species.
You can easily spend the day watching these magnificent mammals in their natural environment, rather than in captivity, which means the photography opportunities are far more extensive and natural.
Photo credit and if you would like more information on Eco Expeditions in the Azores click here Azoreswhalewatch.com
If you are looking for the ideal surfing holiday, either as a surfer or a spectator, you really cannot beat Portugal.
Being located on the Atlantic coast there are offshore breezes which makes this coastline ideal for surfing and Portugal is rapidly becoming one of the world’s leading surf locations.
There are opportunities for complete beginners through to the elite of the surfing world, thanks to the variety of waves and swell sizes.
We do recommend that you research your area well before booking a surfing trip, as some Portuguese surfing beaches are only recommended for experienced surfers depending on the time of the year you visit.
Most surf beaches will have surf schools, if you book a lesson they will include all the equipment that you require.
If you would like to watch the professionals in action you really cannot beat Nazaré on the Silver Coast.
This is Portugal’s number one big wave spot. The big wave season is October through to March, with World Surf League – Big Wave Tour being held between 15 October and 28 Feb the following year (there is no fixed date, as the competition depends on the weather conditions) for more info on the Big wave Tour click here Nazarewaves.com
The world record largest wave ever surfed was recorded at Nazaré. Will you be there to see the next world record?
Photo credit: Tipping Point B&B North Beach Nazaré
3. Boat trips
There are so many options when it comes to boat trips in Portugal, from the famous booze cruises in the Algarve to private sunset cruises around Lisbon.
It really is a case of, if you can think of it, there will be a boat trip available for you.
If the party boat is what you are looking for then Seabookings has just the cruise for you.
The boat party in Lagos – Booze cruise, is a 3 hour non stop party on a 24 metre boat, including all the sangria you can drink with one of the Algarve’s best DJ’s.
If you are looking for more of a cultural experience why not try a boat trip cruising along the Algarve coast with the opportunity to visit the Benagil caves with a refreshing dip in the ocean and a Portuguese lunch.
The boat trips are available from all coastal areas of Portugal. Porto and Lisbon also offer a number of different boat trips, with the opportunity to charter a private sailing yacht, for just the two of you, imagine making that wedding proposal with the sun setting in the background of your personal yacht?
Or enjoying your bachelor/bachelorette party with just a group of your closest friends on private charter, so much more personal than a nightclub.
A sun set sail in Lisbon: Photo credit Seabookings
4. Scuba Diving
Would you like to experience scuba diving on your holiday? If so Mainland Portugal has some very diverse dive sites, from the crystal blue seas on the Algarve to the darker and colder waters in the North and Porto, The Atlantic Ocean will not fail to provide an amazing underwater experience.
Mainland Portugal can easily be split into 3 main areas, Porto and the North, the Silver Coast and the Algarve.
Each area can offer very different dives and experiences
If you choose to visit Porto and the North you will have the opportunity to visit one of Portugal’s most iconic dive sites, a World War II submarine. Noted as one of the most interesting Portuguese wreck sites, it is over 25 metres deep.
If you are on the Silver Coast, you will find numerous shipwrecks at various depths, along with caves and tunnels.
The depth of water varies dramatically in this area from shallow water, with caves and tunnels around the Berlingas Islands through to the Nazaré North Canyon (which is responsible for the big waves in the area). There are many currents and natural whirlpools giving clear water for excellent diving.
Around the canyon the water can be as deep as 4km.
If you are in the Algarve, no dive trip is complete without a visit to the Ocean Revival Underwater Park, (an artificial reef).
This non profit organisation aims to promote underwater tourism in the area. The reef consists of four vessels that were deliberately sunk in the same place. The four warships now form the largest single artificial reef structure in the world. For more details and information click here http://www.oceanrevival.org/en/
Photo credit: Image by Arhnue Tan from Pixabay
5. Horse riding
Are you a horse lover and worry you will miss the enjoyment of rides whilst on vacation? Or maybe you have never ridden a horse in your life but want to try something different on your holiday.
Here in Portugal there is something for everybody, from the complete novice to the most experienced of riders, including riding the famous Portuguese Lusitano breed.
Every region of Portugal will offer horseback riding, whether you are in the Algarve, Lisbon or the Alentejo.
Imagine riding along the beach with the sun setting behind you and the waves lapping at your horse’s feet. Or taking an early morning ride along a deserted beach watching the wildlife and admiring the views. Or a ride through the sand dunes, enjoying nature at its finest.
All these are possibilities and there are many riding schools that are able to provide the opportunity you are looking for. We do advise that you ensure you choose one with a good reputation and that you feel comfortable once there.
Photo credit: Passeios a Cavalo. If you would like more details about this ride in the Alentejo click on the link
Whatever activity you prefer on the coast; we hope you enjoy it.
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